India loves to play cricket. Sports lovers and brands alike pay attention to anything related to the gentleman's game. The country has developed a liking for non-cricket sports such as wrestling, kabaddi, football and hockey, and brands are too happy to follow the audience. This year's Pro Kabaddi League will be sponsored by a brand known for their investment in cricket.
Business numbers show India's love for cricket and non-cricket. According to GroupM ESP's Sporting Nation report, the Indian sports business has grown by over 50% in the last four years. A total of Rs 9,500 crore was spent on sports in the year 2011.
The interest in non-cricket sports has suddenly increased.
According to R Venkatasubramanian, President - Investments at Havas Media India and Managing Director - Havas Play, brands have sided with sports as it is the best way to connect with the audience. With the opening of the economy, there has been a large influx of funds from FII and other direct investments into startups. Sports and live events are one of the fastest ways to gain quick traction and establish relationships with their customers. He says that association with sports helps them drive home their message.
The increase in India's sports budget for the next fiscal year is encouraging brands to look for good returns on their investments here. This year, the sports budget was over three hundred million dollars. India is going to be the next big sporting nation due to the money being spent on the development of sports.
The Senior Director - Sports & Live at Wavemaker India agrees. The team needs to do well and India has done well in sports in the last few years. The history of the sport in the country is one of the ways a sport builds its audience. The popularity of badminton began to grow after some players won international tournaments. Cricket became popular after India won the 1983 World Cup because of a feat on the global platform.
In The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games, which opened many brand association opportunities for him, Indian audience turned their attention to other sports.
Investment in other sports.
The WPL and Women's Cricket World Cup were some of the most popular sports events in India.
India is getting a lot of attention for sports leagues. The International Cricket Council World Cup T20 is one of the tournaments that has great scope for prosperity. The online gaming and betting categories have brands making huge investments in sponsorship. There are emerging sports like kabaddi and football.
Jigar Rambhia, COO at Sportjo, shared that audiences, as well as sponsors, are open to explore new sporting avenues apart from cricket. India is ready to explore other sports, even though people are watching cricket. Everyone wants to watch a good sporting league. We are doing better now than we were in the past.
It is getting there by the end of the year. If I asked a brand to invest their money on a non-cricket property five years ago, they wouldn't think much of it. They are willing to listen and invest. The good thing is that brands are now willing to explore non-cricket sports.
Some fantasy sports and online gaming brands became leading sponsors this season after many startup withdrew their sponsorship in the Indian premier league. When it comes to investing in sporting events, a lot is dependent on the company and brand objectives. Fantasy sports brands depend on sporting events for their business.
Venkatasubramanian says that investment in sports is growing. Every time a game is played, sports offer a lot of entertainment. Despite tighter marketing budgets, faith in sports as a medium has remained strong.
The title sponsorship of the WPL and the Indian premier league has strengthened the presence of a brand. Sponsoring sports events through league or team sponsorship has been done by many brands. He mentions that their main focus is to create relevancy through content and engagement with their key TGs using sports talents and celebrities associated with the teams.
There is a future.
Even though cricket is a religion in India, the possibility of any other sports taking over seems impossible. Experts say a different thing. The future of sports marketing is bright due to increased investments by brands in sports and increased support from the government.
The two of them agree. The next 10 years will be good for Indian sports. There will be a lot of non-cricket stars. India will become a sporting power.
With newer leagues for sports like women's cricket, hockey, and various cricket leagues like ILT20, SA20, Road safety and Legend League, a fair amount of interest and investment is guaranteed. Though these leagues will take their time to get into momentum, emerging sports likePKL, ISL and PVL are becoming part of brands' marketing calendar and making advertisers work on a tactical approach to cash in on these sporting opportunities.
The sports industry is expected to grow very quickly.